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Rappers from all over the country are coming to represent at the FlipTop Festival

Rappers from all over the country are coming to represent at the FlipTop Festival

In the biggest gathering of its ten-year run, the FlipTop community aims to celebrate local hip-hop culture for both the uninitiated and the veterans. Everyone, and they mean everyone, is invited to the first ever FlipTop Festival: a two-day, three-stage event celebrating all things hip-hop.

In case you don’t know, the mainstream hip-hop we hear is just the tip of the iceberg. In fact, the culture goes far beyond Metro Manila and is tens of thousands of people strong. As evidence of the community’s strength despite being away from the spotlight, the battle rap community has been mounting events without sponsors for ten years now, and the FlipTop Festival is no exception. There’s no stopping the hungry as long as there’s hustle.

The FlipTop Festival is happening on Feb. 7 and 8 at the Aseana City Concert Grounds, Parañaque and will feature approximately 200 artists. The event won’t be just for battle rapping; it’s out to rep the culture as a whole. Along with FlipTop battles, there will also be turntablism, live graffiti, and break dancing.

 

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Heading the Festival is veteran battle rapper Alaric Riam Yuson a.k.a. Anygma. “Napakalaking sugal, napaka-ambisyoso,” he says in a press conference for the event. According to Anygma, the Festival wants to take on the mammoth task of giving proper representation of Filipino hip-hop from all corners of the archipelago. There will be numerous acts from Visayas and Mindanao, and all will be spitting rhymes in their native tongue. Anygma says that a premium will be given to the underrated artists of the scene. “Para talaga ‘to sa mga maraming unsung, para ito sa mga underappreciated,” he says. 

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Hip-hop has always had a culture of cutthroat hustle—which is why the challenge of a two-day festival is something the local hip-hop community is determined to overcome. Read on to find out what Anygma has to say about regional artists, the misjudgment of hip-hop, and his message to newbies who want to try and experience the scene.

What made you decide that now’s the time to mount this giant hip-hop event?

Pangarap ‘to ng karamihang hip-hop [artists], mapa starting out pa lang, mga pioneers namin, mga old school, mga veterans. Lahat ng mga yan, iniisip nila sa back of their heads, “Paano pa kaya kung mas malaki pa?” Uma-attend sila sa event na different genre, “Paano kaya kung hip-hop naman?” Wala pa tayong ganung [event] talaga na sobrang laki na hindi na maitatanggi. Wala pa tayong ganun na nasa level na undeniability. I guess parang nag make sense lang logistically, financially, schedule-wise. To be more informal [and] candid, marami saming sawa na ma-underestimate ng buong bansa. If there’s a time to strike, the time is now.

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What would you want to say to “outsiders” of hip-hop culture who would like to experience it, but are still intimidated?

Kung meron mang misconception or kahit na factual history ng pagiging intimidating talaga ng hip-hop, tingin ko naman na napakalayo nang naging evolution nito. Gusto namin mag-represent talaga nang maayos. Walang gulo. Tingin ko worth [it] talaga, lalong lalo na sa mga outsiders, lalo kung mas kilala niyo nga kami sa battle rap [na] napakaraming misconceptions. Ito kami, parang pinu-push namin hindi lang battle rap, kung hindi buong hip-hop. 

Tingin namin na ito yung pinaka magandang pagkakataon para makita niyo, ma-explore niyo talaga lahat ng hindi niyo alam. So parang kung matagal na kayong nakakakita ng turntable, na di niyo alam para saan ba yan. Ano ba role ng DJ? Ito yung pagkakataon para makita niyo [kung] ano ba yung graffiti. Para sayo ba, simpleng vandalism lang ba yan? Ayun, mare-represent yun doon. Lahat ng ibang styles ng hip-hop talaga. So syempre, may iba mahilig sa political, may ibang mahilig sa masa rap kung tawagin, meron rin such a thing as love rap, syempre yung mga gangsta rap. Lahat yan represented sa lineup. Makakakuha kayo ng onting silip ng bawat isa. Hopefully, to make up your own minds. Hopefully informed and educated yung opinion niyo tungkol dun. Magiging jump off point [ito] para lalo niyong alamin at explore-in at enjoy-in yung hip-hop.

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Apart from wanting to represent the different styles of hip-hop or different styles of rap, bakit importante sa inyo i-feature yung mga regional artists outside of Manila?

Para malaman niyo na ganito talaga kalaki yung hip-hop sa Pilipinas. Hindi lang siya simpleng Manila-centric na gangster-an or yung mga lumang misconceptions ng hip-hop na medyo jologs, malaking damit, bling-bling or misogyny. Mga ganung misconceptions [ang] gusto naming labanan, and at the same time i-uphold yung overall culture, overall talent. 

Nakakapag representa sila, nakakapakita sila ng replekyson nila, ng pinanggalingan nila. Yung kwento ng buhay nila, pangyayari sa hood nila, lugar nila, region nila. Bawat apak nila sa entablado, yun yung pinaka nadadala niya. Kahit sa isang bahagi, tulad ng vocabulary, yung pinagkaiba ng paggamit ng ibang klaseng slang sa kada region [is] representative and reflective of the region, of the context, of the story, of the emcee. Kwento ‘to ng napakaraming hip-hop [artists] na matagal nang underrated, matagal nang tinataboy, matagal nang masama at mababa ang tingin sa kanila. I guess yung pagsama-sama ng napakaraming kwento, iyon yung pinaka isang malaking nobela namin for the 10th year anniversary.

Still from “Bolo Brigade (feat. Apoc, KJah, BLKD, Sayadd, Emar Industriya, & Bambu)” by Kemikal Ali x Arbie Won

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Giselle Barrientos
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